Bio: Braun Family Biographies



Surnames: Braun, Rauen, Heineman, Ruder, Meyer, Stein, Wehner, Becker, Riehle, Pañasee, Ranithiser, Chesak, Gehten, Wilger, Helke


----Source: Rietbrock centennial Booklet (1880 - 1980)


MATHIAS BRAUN (1831 - 1908)


Mathias Braun & Sons An industrious, versatile, and ingenious man, Mathias Braun came to America from Aachen, Germany, in 1847. At the age of sixteen he came with his parents, his twenty-six year old brother, Arnold, and his three sisters -- Agnes, Catherine and Gertrude. His oldest brother, Peter John, came to America a year earlier, in 1846, as is evidence from the records filed in the Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.


The, family settled on the north shore of Wolf Lake in Fond du Lac County, near the parish of St. Joe. In 1858, Mathias married Gertrude Stein. In 1868, Mathias moved to Woodville Township in North Central Calumet County. Mathias and Gertrude Stein had eleven children. In addition to running a farm, he operated a general store, ran a saloon, and was the postmaster for the community of St. John's. His wife died and left him with a family of eleven children, Mathias needed help, so he married Josephine Wehner in June of 1874. However, she died a year later. In 1878, Mathias married again. He and Gertrude Becker had twelve children.


In 1882, (with eleven children living) Mathias moved his family to a 160 acre tract of land in the Town of Rietbrock, Marathon County, 1/2 mile north of Poniatowski. Formerly the John Rauen farm, now owned by Charles Riehle. Here, on the banks of Bear Creek, he with sons, Joseph, William, John, and Anthony, built and operated a saw mill and a creamery. The creamery was built near the saw mill, for power so the settlers could separate their milk from the cream. When the railroad was built into Athens, which up to 1890 was called Black Creek Falls, Mathias moved his 1883 saw mill from his farm 1/2 mile N. of Poniatowski to that settlement.


The firm was known as Matt Braun & Sons until 1907, when it was changed to Braun Bros. & Co. The Saw Mill operated until 1953, when most of the heavy stand of timber was .gone and dairying became the leading industry on the fresh farmland. Although the planing mill was discontinued in 1956, Braun Bros & Co. continues to operate two retail lumber yards, one at Athens and the other at Milan.


----Source: Athens, Wisconsin Centennial


 MATHIAS BRAUN was born in Germany in 1831. He came to Wisconsin from Germany in 1847 after buying his way out of the Prussian army by hiring someone to take his place. He married Gertrude Stein about 1858; they had eleven children. After her death in 1874, Mathias married Josephine Wehner who died the following year. About1878, Mathias married Gertrude Becker; they had twelve children. In 1882, he Mathias Braun moved his family to Poniatowski and went into the lumber business under the name M. Braun and Sons. In 1891, Mathias moved the company to Athens where he died in 1908.


Wisconsin Birth Records


Frank Joseph Braun
gender: Male
birth date: 22 May 1888
birthplace: Rietbrock, Marathon, Wisconsin
race: White
father's name: Mathias Braun
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's name: Gerte Baker
mother's birthplace: Germany


Lois Jacob Braun
gender: Male
birth date: 01 Dec 1889
birthplace: Rietbrock, Marathon, Wisconsin
race: White
father's name: Mathias Braun
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's name: Girte Bakar
mother's birthplace: Germany


Josephine G. Braun
gender: Female
birth date: 28 May 1893
birthplace: Rietbrock, Marathon, Wisconsin
race: White
father's name: Matias Braun
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's name: Gertrude Becker
mother's birthplace: Germany


Wisconsin Marriage Records


Mathias Braun
groom's birthplace: Prussia
bride's name: Appolonia Wener (Josephine Wehner)
marriage date: 18 Jun 1874
marriage place: Woodville, Calumet, Wisconsin
groom's father's name: Peter Braun
groom's mother's name: Anna Maria Braun
bride's father's name: Benedick Wener
bride's mother's name: Margaretha Wener
groom's race: White


Joseph Braun
bride's name: Cacilia Heinemann
marriage date: 10 May 1887
marriage place: Marathon, Wisconsin
groom's father's name: Mathias Braun
groom's mother's name: Gorlrnda Stein (Gertrude Stein)
bride's father's name: Joseph Heinemann
bride's mother's name: Anna Kernper


John Braun
bride's name: Emma Helke
marriage date: 07 Jun 1893
marriage place: Marathon, Wisconsin
groom's father's name: Mathias Braun
groom's mother's name: Gertrud Stein
bride's father's name: Edward Helke
bride's mother's name: Bertha Ranithiser


John Pañasee
bride's name: Caroline Brown  (Braun)
marriage date: 09 Jul 1901
marriage place: Marathon, Wisconsin
groom's father's name: Charles Pañasee
groom's mother's name: Anna Gehten
bride's father's name: Mathias Brown (Braun)
bride's mother's name: Becker


John Chas. Chesak
bride's name: Kate Gertrude Braun
marriage date: 07 May 1904
marriage place: Marathon, Wisconsin
groom's father's name: Joseph Chesak
groom's mother's name: Mary S. Wilger
bride's father's name: Mathias Braun
bride's mother's name: Becker


Wisconsin Death Records


Anton Braun
gender: Male
burial place: Athens, Marathon, Wis.
death date: 02 Jun 1898
death place: Rietbrock, Marathon, Wisconsin
age: 26
birth date: 10 Oct 1872
birthplace: Wisconsin
occupation: Owner Of Creamery
race: White
marital status: Single
father's name: Math Braun
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's name: Gertrude
mother's birthplace: Germany


Joseph Braun
gender: Male
burial place: Athens, Wis.
death date: 15 Apr 1907
death place: Wausau, Wisconsin
age: 46
birth date: 04 Apr 1860
birthplace: Wisconsin
race: White
marital status: Married
spouse's name: Celia Braun
father's name: Math Braun
father's birthplace: Germany
mother's name: Aplonia Braun
mother's birthplace: Germany


----Source: Rietbrock centennial Booklet (1880 - 1980)


JOSEPH BRAUN (1861 - 15 Apr 1907)




Joseph Braun, eldest son of Mathias, was born in Fond du Lac County in 1861. In 1886 he married Cecelia Heineman. They had four children; Henry, Belle, Esther and Anthony. At the time of his death in 1907, he was superintendent and manager of the Matt Braun & Sons Lumber Co., a director of the Bank of Athens and held investments and offices in the Athens Park Association. His untimely death at the age of 48 in 1907 brought about a change in the name of the Lumber Firm to Braun Bros. & Co.


---Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens, by Louis Marchetti, 1913; Page 857

Jospeh Braun, deceased, for many years was numbered with the leading business men and active and public spirited citizens of Athens, Wis. In naming many of the most important business enterprises of this section, his name is prominently mentioned, officially or otherwise, while his capital was invested in numerous ways that not only was advantageous to himself and family, but to the neighborhood in which various industries were successfully carried on. At the time of his death, April 15, 1907, he was superintendent and manager of the Braun Bros. Co. and a heavy stockholder in the Bank of Athens, the Athens Brick and Tile Company, the Marathon County Telephone Company, the Athens Printing Company and the Athens Park Association.

In May, 1886, Mr. Braun was married to Miss Cecelia Heinemann, who was born at Milwaukee, Wis., a daughter of Joseph and Ann Bell (Kemper) Heinemann. Mr. and Mrs. Heinemann were born, reared and married in Germany, and after coming to Wisconsin lived at Milwaukee and Wausau, in which city the father now lives retired since the death of the mother. Mrs. Braun is one of the following family: Catherine, now deceased, who was the wife of Heman Aiken; Margaret, who is now deceased, was the wife of William Caward; Henry: Joseph: Hannah, who married first Herman Dehn and second, August Meyer; Anna, who is the wife of William Waterhaus; William: Cecelia; and Philip. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Braun: Henry, Bella, Esther and Anthony. Mr. Braun and family were members of the Catholic Church and he belonged to the Catholic Order of Foresters and also to the E. F. U. For a long time Mr. Braun was a notary public at Athens. In his death Marathon County lost a citizen of sterling character and public usefulness.

Obit: Braun, Joseph (1861 - 1907)

----Source: Athens Record, Athens, Wisconsin, 18 Apr 1907



Another one of Athens’ staunch and good men, one of her truest citizens and best friends, was taken from us when Joseph Braun was called to his Maker. Swiftly and silently came the Angel of Death to summon him, in the prime of his manhood, from his loved ones. But a week ago he was with us, ever cheerful, and today all mourn for the one who is dead. Mr. Braun suffered an attack of appendicitis last fall and was quite seriously ill with a second attack the first part of last month. After his recovery he was advised to undergo an operation for the removal of the vermiform appendix, and last week Wednesday, accompanied by his wife, he went to the St. Mary’s hospital at Wausau. On Thursday forenoon he was operated upon, but failed to rally from the shock and gradually became weaker.

When it became apparent that Mr. Braun’s condition was critical he wished to see his children, and the son , Henry who is attending business college at Stevens Point, and the other children, who were at Athens, were called to his bedside. His brother, John, and Father Muehlenkamp of Athens also were with him. He peacefully passed away at 11:30 A.M., Monday, April 15th. The body, accompanied by the members of the family and some Wausau relatives and friends, was brought home to Athens Tuesday afternoon, via Junction City and Abbotsford. A delegation of the Athens Court of Catholic Foresters, of which the deceased was an esteemed member, and a large number of other Athens citizens met the funeral train at Abbotsford. Funeral services were held this morning at 10 o’clock from the family home and at St. Anthony’s church, Fathers Brennen of Wausau and Reding of Colby assisting Father Muehlenkamp in the last sad rites. Many beautiful floral offerings indicated in a measure the love and respect born the deceased by his fellow men.

Joseph Braun was born in a country town in Fond du Lac county, Wis., on April 4th, 1861, being 46 years and 11 days old at his death. He lived there on a farm with his parents until the family moved to Poniatowski in 1886, at which time he was about 25 years old. His father built a saw mill at that place and the brothers, Joseph, John and William, assisted him in the work of the mill and their farm. This mill was moved to Athens nine years later, 1891, enlarged and improved, and the firm of M. Braun & Sons, composed of Matthias Braun and sons Joseph and John, was formed. In 1905 this firm was incorporated under the name of Braun Bros. & Co., of which Jos. Braun was secretary and treasurer. The company does a general saw and planing mill business, and has an up-to-date, progressive plant. Mr. Braun was interested in numerous other Athens business enterprises, holding the office of secretary and treasurer of the Athens Brick and Tile Co., manufacturing sand mould brick at their plant a mile east of the village. This business was started about four years ago with Mr. Braun as its main promoter. He was president of the Athens Telephone Co., and stockholder of the Bank of Athens, Central Park Association, Athens Printing Co., and other concerns. He held the office of P.C.R. of Athens Catholic Forester Court, and secretary of the E.F.U.

Mr. Braun was married at Poniatowski on May 3, 1887, to Miss Celia Heinemann, and they resided at that place until in 1891 when they removed to Athens. Four children were born to them, Henry, aged 19, Bella aged 16, Esther aged 11, and Tony aged, 7.

The deceased leaves to mourn him his sorrowing wife and children, an aged father, M. Braun of Poniatowski, two brothers, John of Athens, and Wm. of Wausau, three sisters, Mrs. Mike Meier of Chilton, Wis., Mrs. John Krupt of Hilbert, Wis., and Mrs. Rob’t Meyer of Wausau; two step brothers and six step sisters. Among those from out of town who were present at the funeral were: Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Braun, Mr. and Mrs. Rob’t Meyer; Mrs. Emil Meyer, Mr. and Mrs. Wm Waterhouse, Mr. Jos. Heinemann, Misses Carrie and Frances Bishop, Mrs. Mary Strupp, Mrs. Muckerheide and W. Farrell of Wausau; Messrs. Peter and M. Philippi and Miss Anne Philippi of Thorp; Mike Braun, Miss Rose Braun, and Messrs. Anton and Bernard Petrie of Mt. Calvary; Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Krahn, Milan; Mr. John Kropp of Hilbert; Mr. Mike Meier, Chilton; Mrs. Stein, Neenah; Mr. J. Horn, Sherwood, Messrs. Henry and John Nett, Jericho; Mr. and Mrs. Mat. Braun and Mr. and Mrs. John Chesak of Poniatowski, Hw. Heinemann of Milwaukee, and Miss Ida Williams of Stevens Point.

A man of high morals, straight forward character, keen business ability, and a kind heart, he will be grievously missed in our community, in business and social circles. He was prominent in al worthy movements, and his views and counsel were always valuable. His hospitable home was ever a happy one, and our deepest sympathy is with those who are bereaved of a most loved husband and father.


----Source: Rietbrock centennial Booklet (1880 - 1980)


WILLIAM BRAUN (1865 - 1938)


William, second son of Mathias Braun, was born on a farm on the shores of Wolf Lake near St. Joe's in Fond du Lac County in 1865. He was 17 years of age when the family moved to the timbered country of the Town of Rietbrock in Marathon County in 1882. He wielded the axe and held his own at the cross-cut saw during the first years when the land was being cleared of timber to provide acreage for farming. There were no eight hour days as they swung the cradlescythe in the harvest field from sun- rise to sunset.


Up to the time he married Mary Louise Meyer in 1892, he helped in the operation of the saw mill as the head-sawyer. A handy man with tools, before the age of motors and power driven machines, he built a Cooperage on the NE comer of Plumber and 4th streets in the city of Wausau. William and his two employees manufactured all the beer kegs and barrels required to supply the needs of the two Wausau Breweries--Mathie and Ruder, as well as repair all damaged cooperage. They shaped the hardwood staves with hand drawn-shaves.


His family of five children were born in their home on Plumber street. When his older brother, Joseph, died in the spring of 1907, he was asked to rejoin his younger brother, John, in the lumber business at Athens. He moved his household goods by means of two horse-drawn wagons to Athens, a distance of nearly 30 miles.


His son, Albert, who had been employed by the Edward Hines Lumber Co., in their offices at Hayward, Wis. and Virginia, Minn. and a Secretary to Frank Bissel at Wausau, joined the Braun Bros. & Co., in 1920. Albert's son, James W. Braun joined the firm in 1949 and continues with four Braun cousins to operate the business at Athens and Milan. William and Mary Braun had five children - Albert, Lucy, Cecilia, William and Marie.


---Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens, by Louis Marchetti, 1913.

Braun, William (14 November 1865 – 1938)

WILLIAM BRAUN, president and general superintendent of the Braun Bros. Company, at Athens, Wisconsin, and one of the representative business men of Marathon county, was born November 14, 1865, in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, and is a son of Mathias Braun, of an early Wisconsin family, of German extraction.

William Braun attended the public schools until he was thirteen years of age and then began to assist his father on the home farm and remained until he was eighteen years old when he went to work in mills as a sawyer, after which he worked for about seven years in Wausau as a cooper. In 1907, after the death of his brother, the late Joseph Braun, he bought an interest in the Braun Bros. Company and has been actively identified with this business ever since.

On September 27, 1892, Mr. Braun was married to Miss Mary Meyer, who was born in Switzerland and was eight years old when she accompanied her parents, Stephen and Mary (Frey) Meyer to Marathon County where she was reared and married. Her parents live on a farm, and her mother died in 1908. She was the third youngest born of their children, the others being: Joseph, Emil and Robert; Anna, now deceased, was the wife of John Vollenweider; Josephine was the wife of Peter Bearis; and August and Albert. Four children make up the family of Mr. and Mrs. Braun: Albert, Lucy, William and Marie, all attending school and Miss Lucy belongs to the graduating class of 1914. The family is of the Catholic faith and Mr. Braun is a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters. In his political views he is a Democrat.



----Source: Rietbrock centennial Booklet (1880 - 1980)


JOHN BRAUN (30 Mar 1867 - 1947)




John Braun, the third son of Mathias Braun, was a member of the Braun Lumber Co. from its start at Poniatowski in 1883. A practical man, much of the planing or construction and maintenance of the saw and planeing mills was left to his direction - he was known as a millwright. Upon the death of his brother Joseph, in 1907, much of the business and finance of the company became his responsibility until Albert, son of William, joined the firm after the World War I, in 1920.


Edward, second son of John Braun, was taken into the firm in 1920. He became the lumbergrader. He left the lumber business in 1930 to become engaged in the Oil Business and owner of the Ford Auto Agency at Athens.  


Wilfred, second son of John Braun, was taken into the firm in 1927, following a course in architectural engineering. He continues to lay out drawings for the buildings being constructed by the firm. Wilfred and three of his sons, William H., John and Joseph, together with James W. Braun, son of Albert, continue to operate two retail building services at Athens and Milan.


John Braun married Emma Haelke in 1893. They had six children -- Edward, Irene, Harry, Wilfred, Matthias and Mercedes. John died at the age of 80 in 1947.  



---Source: History of Marathon County Wisconsin and Representative Citizens, by Louis Marchetti, 1913.

John Braun, junior member of the firm of Braun Bros. & Co., owners of saw mills and planing mills at Athens, Wis., conducting with increasing prosperity one of the large industrial plants here, was born in Fond du Lac County, Wis., March 30, 1867, and is a son of Mathias and Gertrude (Stein) Braun.

Mathias Braun and wife came to Wisconsin from Germany and settled first in Fond du Lac County, where he engaged in farming and lumbering, but the last thirty-one years of his life were spent in Marathon County. They had the following children: Joseph, who is deceased; William; John; Anton, who is deceased; Mary, who is deceased, was the wife of Peter Phillippi; Anna, who is the wife of Michael Meyer; Margaret, who is the wife of John Kropp; and Ablonia, who is the wife of Robert Meyer.

John Braun had very little chance in his youth to go to school as his father needed his help both on the home farm and in the woods. In 1882 the father and his sons went into business together, under the firm name of M. Braun & Sons, which later became as at present, Braun Bros. & Co. a name that is known for business integrity and efficiency all over and beyond Marathon County.

On June 7, 1893, Mr. Braun was married to Miss Emma Haehlke, a daughter of Edward Haehlke, a farmer in Marathon County, and they have had five children: Edward, Harry, Irene, Wilfred and Mathias, all surviving except Harry. The family belongs to the Catholic Church. Mr. Braun has always been a Democrat in politics and at present is serving in the office of deputy sheriff. He belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters and to the F. O. E.




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